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Sully's Mailbag: Don't expect Bills QB Josh Allen to start soon

I must say, I'm touched. The Mailbag took a three-week hiatus and people actually missed it. There was a pile of mail waiting, on all manner of subjects. And no one told me to retire or move back to New England (where I spent last week).

It's hard to get to everyone's questions. I still have some good ones sitting in the file from last fall. So in an attempt to be more inclusive, I'll try to be brief, which isn't easy for me. Let's say no more than 100 words on any item.

@chef4131 asks: When do we see Josh Allen?

Sully: I saw him throw at rookie practice on Friday. But I assume you mean the regular season. There'll be a clamor among fans to play him sooner, which is understandable, but I don't expect Allen to start a game until mid-October at the earliest.

Allen is a project and there's no need to rush him. AJ McCarron will get a chance to prove he's an NFL starter, and they like Nathan Peterman. Unless McCarron is really bad, I could see them waiting to start Allen until after the bye at home against Jacksonville the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

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@kennygeezer7 asks: What is Bills' top-down depth chart at receiver? Is Zay Jones #1?

Sully: It's thin, to say the least. Kelvin Benjamin is No. 1 with Zay Jones at a shaky No. 2. Veteran Jeremy Kerley is a decent No. 3 out of the slot. Andre Holmes, who has 41 catches in his last 46 games with the Raiders and Bills, is probably next, which tells you how bereft they are at wideout.

Watch out for Austin Proehl, the Bills' seventh-round draft pick. Proehl looked good catching balls from Josh Allen on the first day of rookie camp. He could help out of the slot.

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TManny 22 asks: When will the Sabres make the playoffs? You hope for a push next year, playoffs the next. They should contend for a cup in 3-4 years.

Sully: Fans said the same thing a year ago. Fool me once ... Sure, there's a chance they hang around the playoff race, but they're a long way from real contention, even with Rasmus Dahlin and Casey Mittelstadt. They're talented, but they're kids. Give them time to grow.

I'm not sure what constitutes a playoff "push," but I don't see them as a playoff team until 2020-21. Fans point to the Avalanche and Devils, who improved by 47 and 27 points last season. The Sabres have too many holes for that sort of turnaround.

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Clay Anastasio asks: How can Kim Pegula manage PSE and two pro sport teams? How can it work when two of the three organizations have been historically poor?

Sully: Good question. The Pegulas are over their heads as owners of two professional teams. Kim Pegula wielded power with both the Bills and Sabres before inheriting the president's titles from Russ Brandon. But her skills have been more evident in the entertainment/business realm than the sports side.

If Pegula is as smart as people say she is, she'll hire veteran executives to fill the power vacuum between ownership and the personnel department for both franchises.

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@theJMM26 asks: Could you say something nice about this historic Yankees run? Picking up nine games in the division against your beloved Sox is something. No?

Sully: A few weeks ago, when the Red Sox were off to their best start in history, I texted a good friend who is a Yankee fan and told him it was hard to hate a team that was seven games back. The Yanks promptly went on their first 17-1 run since 1953 and moved a game ahead by beating the Sox on Wednesday.

So yeah, it was a nice run. The Yanks made up 8 1/2 games on the Sox in 19 days. It brought back bad memories of an epic Yankee surge (or a Sox collapse) 40 years ago.

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@joenorick asks: Enough football, hockey. How about some thoughts on Yankees/Sox? Gonna be good all year watching that rivalry.

Sully: I broke up these two questions so I could write more about baseball. Hey, it's my column. As I wrote in April, the sport is more interesting when the Yanks-Sox rivalry is relevant. As of Friday, they were both 26-11, tied for first in the AL East.

That's a 114-win pace. I don't expect that to keep up, but they could win 98 games in the same year for only the third time. The others were in 1978, the year of the Bucky Dent game, and 2004, the year the Sox came from 0-3 down in the ALCS. So yeah, it should be a fun year.

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Brendan Sweet asks: On a scale of 0-100, what's the chance Buffalo gets an NBA team in the next 20 years? I want it to be 100, but realistically I'd say 10%.

Sully: Sorry, but it's zero. No one would love an NBA team in Buffalo more than I would. It's the best sport on the planet. I've said many times I would trade the Bills and Sabres for an NBA team. But there's no room for another major winter sport in the market, and interest in the league isn't that strong.

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@machino76 asks: Celts revamped their roster last summer. Gordon Hayward goes down. Kyrie Irving out. Now Shane Larkin goes down. And they go to the conference finals. Is Brad Stevens the best NBA coach?

Sully: I wouldn't go that far, but I've felt Stevens was one of the best coaches in the game since he got Butler to consecutive national title games in college. It's remarkable how well the Celts are playing without two elite players. Stevens, an excellent defensive coach, proves you can teach at the NBA level.

But Stevens still hasn't reached the NBA Finals, so let's wait a bit. The Spurs' Gregg Popovich is still the best in the game. And let's give Danny Ainge a big share of the credit for putting this young Boston team together. Imagine them with Hayward and Irving healthy.

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Reverend Bob asks: Have you played golf yet this year and do you expect to break 90? Are you playing senior tees now?

Sully: Played a few times with modest success. I've broken 90 several times in recent years, though I haven't yet gotten down to 85. I'm back in the men's club at Brighton. It's pretty long from the white tees, but I'm still improving so it'll be a few years at least before I move up to the senior tees.

I do think most golfers play tees that are too long for them. It can be discouraging when you're hitting woods into most par-4s. But the handicap tends to even things out, so I'd rather play from the regular tees, at least for now.

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